It’s difficult to discuss 2021 without thinking about the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Penhold Mayor Michael Yargeau.
“It’s hard to talk about what happened last year and what happened the year before. It all seems to go together,” Yargeau told The Advocate Sunday morning.
Just after the new year began, Yargeau recalled the difficult times the town has faced due to COVID.
“On two different occasions we’ve laid off 19 people from our staff. We’ve shut down our facilities, we’ve opened them back up, shut them down and opened them up again,” he said.
“It’s been tough. It’s been challenging for our staff, our residents and for council to manage what seems to change all the time with the newest restrictions and the newest rules. It’s been a constant balancing act to find a happy place between doing what’s right for the community and looking after everything at the same time.”
There were a couple of positives for Penhold in 2021. One of the biggest milestones for the town this past year was the opening of its skate park and pump track, said Yargeau.
“It was a long time coming for us. It took a long time to fundraise and a lot of members of the community being involved to make it happen. That was pretty big,” he said, adding another milestone was the opening of a new daycare facility.
Yargeau said the Town of Penhold is looking forward to continued commercial and business growth in 2022.
“We’ve got a lot of commercial development that started in 2021 that will be finished in 2022, with some new businesses coming to town. That’s really exciting,” he said.
“We’re going to be doing a big recreational project around our multiplex facility. We’re hoping to announce some more details in the next few months.”
Additionally, Penhold is always growing, with more young families moving to the community, Yargeau added.
“Hopefully (Penhold is) getting a new school as well within the next year,” he said.
The residents of Penhold have been great throughout these past two challenging years, Yargeau said.
“I just want to thank the community for being so supportive and great for our staff and our council and getting through this with us and understanding sometimes we have to make decisions that don’t make everyone happy. But everyone’s doing the best they can and it’s great to have the community support we have.”